This year, as the world celebrated centenaries of Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi and Benjamin Britten, Germany, Italy and England swelled with cultural pride and added a bit of swagger.
France, too, had a bicentennial composer but opted to keep quiet about him.
The Saturday, November 30, is the 200th anniversary of the boirth in Paris of Charles-Valentin Morhange Alkan, the foremost French piano virtuoso of the first half of the 19th century and a composer of exceedingly difficult works. Liszt and Chopin, it was said, lived in fear of his skills.
In mid-life, denied the post of head of piano at the Paris Conservatoire, Alkan withdrew from public performance and became a recluse.
His exclusion was, to a degree, founded on anti-semitic prejudice. We wonder what the excuse was for forgetting his bicentenary.